Merlin’s Grimoire: Slot Overview
Editor’s note: This review evaluates Merlin’s Grimoire based on its early access state and may still be under development. We plan on revisiting this review if needed once the game gets a full release.
Merlin, from the ever-popular Arthurian legends, has been labelled everything from wizard, prophet, and enchanter to an adviser for King Arthur. We imagine a man with such connections and wisdom to own a personal Grimoire stuffed with lore, magic, and secrets. To find out what might lurk between its pages, Play’n GO has designed Merlin’s Grimoire, an online slot that uses the expanding symbol feature from the ‘book of’ genre, then adds splitting symbols and a ways paying system to present something outside the normal run of things.
What’s not unusual, and this is a good thing, is that Play’n GO has crafted a lush, overgrown world to host the Merlin-inspired experience. The game uses a 5-reel, 3-row matrix set in stone, and covered in ivy as the central play area, while about it lies a thick forest full of trees, shrooms, and the like. It’s not a game which flaunts a lot of magical effects, so if you were hoping Merlin would go all Dumbledore and shoot sheets of fire from a wand, prepare to be let down. One reason why is that Merlin’s Grimoire is something of a prequel, telling the story of a young Merlin taking a journey to become the most powerful wizard in the world. The visual effects are pleasing and are helped by the fact that this is far from being Play’n GO’s first Merlin slot.
As far as ‘book of’ games go, Merlin’s Grimoire is a beast. It’s not like a rampaging rhino sort of beast, but something more devious, as the features are more intricately developed than usual. On the back end, it runs on a highly volatile math model, spitting out a return to player value of 96.0% at the upper end. It accepts stakes of 10 p/c to £/€100 per spin on any device and packs some big win numbers for Grimoire seekers to play for.
To score a win, you’ll need to land at least two high pays or three low pays from the left side of the grid in adjacent reels. At the default grid size, this means 243 ways to win, but when splitting symbols start to hit, ways can quickly skyrocket, maxing out at 7776 ways. For the low pays, players get six esoteric looking tokens, worth 0.8-1x the bet for five of a kind, and scrolls, potion bottles, gems, and Merlins as the highs, worth 2.5-4x the bet for five of a kind. The only other symbol is the Grimoire itself, covered next.
Merlin’s Grimoire: Slot Features
To our knowledge, this is the fourth overtly Merlin slot from Play’n GO, the other three being Rise of Merlin, Merlin and the Ice Queen Morgana, and Lord Merlin And The Lady of the Lake. So far, all have featured expanding symbols in some way, so its stands to reason that Merlin’s Grimoire does as well; plus, it has a splitting symbol feature for originality.
On any base game spin, there is a chance 1, 2 or 3 of the middle three reels activities. When it does, any symbol landing on an active reel is split into two, increasing ways to win.
In Merlin’s Grimoire, the Grimoire in question is used as the wild and scatter symbol. As a wild, it replaces any normal pay symbol to help link winning ways. As the scatter, landing 3, 4, or 5 of them awards 10 free spins and a payout of 0.8, 1.6 or 4 times the stake. Before free spins launch, one pay symbol is randomly selected to be the special expanding symbol. If expanding symbols can create a win, they expand to cover all positions on their reel and pay from any position – they do not have to be adjacent. Crucially, all reels in free spins can create splitting symbols when they are activated, not just the middle three. Naturally, the most optimal outcome is to land expanding symbols on all five reels when they are active. Then there’d be 7,776 ways to win.
Merlin’s Grimoire: Slot Verdict
Nolimit City might be the reigning king of splitting symbols, but Play’n GO shows that it knows a thing or two about using them as well. Till now, this has generally been in their Gems range of slots – Forge of Gems, Prism of Gems, Frozen Gems, et al., yet these were fairly elaborate compared to Merlin’s Grimoire. By keeping things simple, Merlin’s Grimoire has fewer moving parts to keep an eye on while still possessing everything it needs to produce spectacular results. It’s not overly repetitive, due to random splitting symbols and audio-visual effects which are easy on both the senses, through triggering free spins may require a bit of patience.
It’s funny, we went on about Merlin’s Grimoire being somewhat basic compared to its Gem forebears, but its bonus game is more complex than those found in a regular round of Book of Ra free spins. However, the core experience, the highs, lows, thrills, and spills remain the same. In fact, Merlin’s Grimoire is a rather potent slot, so the emotional roller coaster ride can potentially be more viciously up and down. Strong hits are technically possible, and the game can produce wins of up to an extraordinary 30,000x the bet, which is far greater than what is usually found in a regular symbol expansion game.
Merlin’s Grimoire’s prime attractions should have little problem pulling in ‘book of’ connoisseurs, as well as those with a soft spot for the Arthurian legends, for a look. It is a bit more complicated than regular ‘book’ slots, requiring several game elements to come together to really step up. As such, some might call it fiddly, fair enough. However, there is little doubt Merlin’s Grimoire has the firepower to blow most ‘book’ slots out of the water on its day. On the whole, Merlin’s Grimoire is a highly functioning slot that should appeal to ‘book of’ players looking for something original to tool around with.
Play’n GO expands on a familiar set of features to make Merlin’s Grimoire a high-powered ‘book of’ rendition.